So if you haven’t heard, Pitt is moving forward with an on-campus stadium. They’ll be using the money from the COVID-19 vaccine they just developed, and which should be just hitting the market in a year.
If only that was true. The on campus-stadium part I mean. Yes, this piece is basically a two-day late April fools joke. Sorry and haha. Of course we should all be proud of the vaccine, and we should all hope it’s successful.
But back to that On Campus Stadium. Since I brought it up, we might as well talk about it it. You know, the cozy little 45,000 seat stadium with lots of character that’s walkable from campus and that Pitt will fill to 90%+ capacity each and every week. Yea that one. Lets just say that after they do the feasibility study Gallagher says “Alright lets raid the General Fund and make this happen!” He sweet talks the BOT and all the sudden Heather is announcing another press conference. To be clear, none of this is going to happen, but lets just say it does.
The big question is where do you put the damn thing? Well don’t you worry, because I’ve scouted out four prime locations and provided all the information you need. Feel free to rip it all to shreds.
Option 1 – Panther Hollow
The classic option that’s been proposed pretty much since the day they announced Pitt Stadium was being torn down. Also it’s the least likely to happen. Politics, expense, history, and Pittsburgh Royalty all stand in the way. Also Reed was nice enough to send me this article that points out that Pittsburghers love their parks so much so that they actually voted to raise their own taxes to preserve them.
So yea… but anyway here’s where they might put it. Just knock out a playground and bulldoze a bunch of trees. Sure, no problem. At least it’s an easy 20 minute walk from the Towers.
Pros: Location, location location. Just imagine Fran’s tailgate next to picturesque Panther Hollow Lake.
Cons: Not a lot of parking. Driving there would be next to impossible. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The Schenleys.
Odds: Like 1 in 1 million (So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!)
Option 2: The Hill
If you follow the Pitt Panther Fanatics Facebook group, this is the idea that they kind of sort of leaked as maybe likely to be part of a feasibility study last year. Yes a bunch of houses would have to be purchased and knocked down. Yes residents would be displaced. Yes, this is about as far from the heart of campus as you can get while still getting away with calling it “on campus”. But damn it Jim I’m a writer not a city planner, and if you situate that stadium just right everybody but the visiting band will be able to see the Cathedral. And that’s what New Pitt Stadium is all about right?
Pros: Sits right next to Victory Heights. Aforementioned view of Cathedral. Fans still get to walk up Cardiac Hill. Lots of space for parking.
Cons: Fans still get to walk up Cardiac Hill…only they get to walk for 30 minutes instead of 15. Still kind of tough to get to in a car.
Odds: Picking odds on this location is more like picking odds that there will be a Stadium at all because it’s tough to see Pitt going with an alternate location. Now the odds that they will decide to go with a Stadium? I’ll say 1 in 1000 and that’s probably optimistic.
Option 3: Hazelwood
Hazelwood? I can practically hear the entire readership groaning as they read this. Hazelwood is NOT Oakland. Hazelwood is NOT walkable. Hazelwood is NOT where anybody wants to go to watch football. Well the last part of it might be true, but if look at things objectively, the west end of Hazelwood down by the Mon is actually not a bad location at all. It’s closer the towers then the Hill location, so that’s one thing. Also the students are walking downhill to get to the games, not up…so that helps solve our attendance problem, right? It’s right of off the Parkway, and I’d like to think an exit could be built to accommodate. Of course there is the small problem of the stadium actually being just a bit too long to fit in the available lot, but it’s not like there would be a major overhang onto river. If it was planned right it could be a nice little pier, and Pitt fans could drive their boats up to it. The Hazelwood bike trail could be extended over the river as part of this. I’m telling you this could be NICE. Well there is one other small detail…Since i’m working off of Google maps and haven’t been to that part of Pittsburgh in many many years, it’s entirely possible that somebody else has leased that land and something else is being built. I’m sure somebody on this board will know and correct me if that’s the case, but in the meantime i’m going to live in my own little stadium-over-the-river world.
Pros: Closer to campus then you think. Students walk downhill to get to games! Easy! Bates Street all the sudden becomes prime real-estate because of weekly “Bates Street Bash” during the season. Easy to get to and from on the highway. On the river which is cool. Drive your boat up just like University of Tennessee! Spitting distance from the UPMC Rooney Sports Performance Complex. “Hey I can see the Stillers practicing from my club box n’at!”
Cons: Space may not actually be available and almost certainly won’t be when the Heinz field lease is up. Even if it was, would there there be enough parking???
Odds: Low. Really low. But hey a dude can dream.
Option 4: Portal Place (5th Avenue Curve)
Taking a flyer here, but there is some land right off Fifth Avenue… I think its a hillside (which actually makes for a great, unique stadium) and I think it’s undeveloped. It’s less than a mile from campus, and it’s a flat walk. Look, for all I know it’s owned by Carlow College (yes it’s right next to them), but it’s an entcingly logical location for a lot of reasons, which means it will never, ever happen.
Pros: 15 minutes walk from the towers. Say no more.
Cons: You’d be displacing Landslide Community Farm, which is pretty not-cool. You’d have to bulldoze a relatively new luxury apartment building (which I don’t think anyone would care about, except maybe the owners). The good ladies over at Carlow would probably not love us on Saturdays.
Odds: 1 in one-bazillion. Goodnight.
Hail to Pitt